The Waste Land
This is what I've come to call the front lawn area. Here's the story - I've just about eliminated all the grass on our property. I can now mow all the grassy areas in about 30 minutes (this is better than 3 or 4 hours that it used to take when we had no garden, just lawn). However, I did want a large grassy area in the front of the house to give the eye a rest. Heaven knows there's so much going on that the eye needs it.
Well, I may as well forget that idea. It is shady here and worse, three red maples spread their hungry shallow roots all over the place. I have tried just about every grass known to man. I thought I had the solution when I planted fescue two years ago. It was beautiful that winter but it died the following summer. Fescue doesn't like our summer heat. I could replant it and water it daily in the summer but we don't have a sprinkler system and I know it would not get watered even with my best intentions.
I've thought about making a gravel pathway through part of it and surround it with dwarf Mondo grass. I know it is tough and tolerates shade. I'm not sure about the root competition. I saw a garden in Birmingham where large areas were completely covered in this and it looks great.
So, what to do? If any of you garden designers out there can give me some suggestions, I'd love to hear them.